Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Sometimes, architecture can be scary.

(Especially if you're out in the Norwegian countryside, far from people, trying to make accurate drawings of an old barn where the roof probably will cave in at any moment and the beams holding it up aren't really touching the ground.)

Sunday, 21 March 2010


There are lots of building in Bergen with little sculptures like this one. He's sitting and thinking on the capital of a column in the atrium of Bergen courthouse, and will probably remain there for most of eternity. More of this, please!

Friday, 19 March 2010


Aren't these things lovely? My friend Tuva and I were walking around in Bergen the other day, and when we stumbled across this lovely photo opportunity, I told her to go in and make a phone call.

The Norwegian telephone booths were designed in 1933 by architect Georg Fredrik Fasting, who went to school and worked in Bergen. The number one challenge was to make them cheap, but they're also considered design relics, and the remaining 100 booths (there used to be 6000 of them, but the mobile phone made them more or less superfluous in the 90's) are to be preserved. Although a bit too simple for my taste, I can't quite resist the charm of this early modernist piece of everyday architecture.

The view is more or less the same as the one from my school; these sweeping panoramas are an everyday thing for most people in Western Norway. The green stuff is ivy, a plant that in my opinion should be used extensively in temperate parts of the world, as they provide green stuff to look at in the winter, especially in urban environments. Imagine a grey winter street, only with ivy partly covering building façades, street trees, tall lampposts and roofs.

Monday, 15 March 2010


I saw these pine trees at a place called Lygra. They are shaped by the weather in an interesting way, as it may look like they're always standing in the wind, but they're not. What happens, is that when buds grow on one side of the tree, they thrive and explode into branches and pine needles, but the buds on the other side of the tree are hit by the cold wind, and dry out and die. In that way, the trees are shaped by the climate to only grow in one direction.

One of the founders of Bergen School of Architecture, who was also the principal for many years, Svein Hatløy, held a speech for our class where he told us that when he and some other people met in the seventies to try and develop a new architecture to replace the shitty stuff everyone was doing back then, they decided that the thing that would lead them, was the local climate. The weather and landscape should be the number one consideration when designing a building.

Seeing these trees made me think of that. Perhaps we still need an architecture shaped by the winds? Perhaps our buildings, although well rooted, should be flexible, and in a different way that just applying movable interior walls? Maybe architecture should be a bit more like pine trees?

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Today I took this picture of the pile of CDs that I've listened to lately. Here they are, uncensored and glorious. The flat green one on the top is a great CD with soul music that Gjøran gave me. Thanks! Under that: The music from the movie about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, some lovely Dvorak music, Ida Maria's album "Fortress Round My Heart", the Kings of Convenience classic "Quiet is the New Loud", Loyd Webber's rock opera "Evita", a classical Paul McCartney piece called "Ecce Cor Meum", a collection of opera music by Naxos, the wonderful Amelie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen, Sondre Lerche's "Two Way Monologue" and Håkan Hellström's "Det är så jag säger det". All are recommended!


You didn't. Mattias, you didn't.

The snow sculpture was a part of my classmate Mattias' work in Visual structure. Below, a picture of the old-fashioned, absurdly tall and rather stupid Munch museum that may be built next to the Oslo opera house. It won the contest, although it was the only contestant breaking the limitations in the program. I guess the project, drawn by Herreros Arquitectos and with a design more or less recycled from a tower block they built in Las Palmas, won because it was the project with most commercial space. Why can't they keep the Munch museum where it is, you ask? I have no idea.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


The last two weeks have been conducted by the woman in the picture, our Visual Structure teacher, Mona Steinsland. Extremely competent, she guides and directs us through the jungle of the language of Open Form. As we have partly been working outside and in the Hall, which isn't isolated, it's been a rather cold, but also rewarding experience. Some of the second-graders even came to the vernissage.

The language of Open Form, which is an attitude towards form, invented by the Polish Architect Oskar Hansen, developed by Svein Hatløy, the first principal and ideological chief at BAS, and taught by Mona and others, is very interesting. I like the idea of form with an active relationship to the surroundings and designing with the individual needs of people in mind, so I'm really looking forward to learning even more about it in the years to come.

Auf wiedersehen, Mrs. Steinsland!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Is it just me, or does this house, located in the little Norwegian coastal town of Haugesund (mostly known for their neo-classical pink town hall) look like Batman?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I like sitting in windows sills. They're tight and cosy; I like spaces that seem to embrace you, and you can have complete contact with the outside world without really leaving the room you're in. They're a sort of place in-between outside and inside, and that is fascinating. On the other hand, the further into the façade you put the windows, the longer they last, because they receive less sun, wind and rain, and to make it work you need thick walls of course (but who doesn't want that, really?). Still, windows sills you can sit in all year around really do something for a room, and aligning the windows with the façade looks quite cool, so I can't do anything but recommend you to do just that if you're designing a place with windows.

The picture was taken today, in the library at BAS, by a nice librarian. She didn't mind me sitting in the window or taking my shoes off and walking around in my socks. Just the sort of library I like!

Monday, 1 March 2010


There are many inconveniences of applying false muntins in architecture.

For one, they fall off, often from just one window or even a part of a window, and then the rest of the façade is revealed as nothing but a stage set with cozification instead of real quality as its principle. Secondly, they look very much like prison bars from the inside, hanging outside of the window. Not very nice, especially if you've already been to prison. Thirdly, they cast shadows on the windows that make them even look like prison bars from the outside.

Other than that, they're often used when replacing beautiful windows in old houses. Most old windows are built out of excellent materials, and can easily be restored and/or supplemented with new and more energy efficient windows on the inside.

Did I mention false muntins are tacky? Well, they're tacky! Ugh.

Conclusion: Please use real glazing bars, in between separated panes of glass instead of false muntins. Love love love
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